Car Basics For Dummies

Posted on by Defensive Driving Team | in Defensive Driving Tips

This entry marks the start of a new series on the basics of how cars work. Now, I drove for a long time before I learned how an engine works. Phrases like “blew a gasket” and “torque converter” might as well have been old Icelandic sayings. Looking under the hood of my car felt a bit like looking at a bird’s nest or a Rorschach blot: oh, that’s interesting …I wonder what that could be?

The powerful engine

Why did I never bother learning about cars? First, no one in my family is really a “car person,” so I didn’t have a parent or older sibling who could teach me. Second, the mechanical complexity of a car seemed both boring and intimidating. Finally, it just didn’t seem important.

Now that I am a more enlightened driver, however, I realize that knowing about how a car works is worth the bit of effort and time it may take to understand some of the mechanics. Even those of us with only the haziest recollections of high school physics can still grasp the fundamentals of how a car functions. Knowing this not only gives you a greater appreciation for the mechanical marvels contained in your car, but also equips you with basic vocabulary and diagnostic tools that will come in handy should something go wrong with your car. Having a greater awareness of how my car works also helps me to take better care of my car and to be a better driver. I feel more secure behind the wheel now that my car seems more like a mechanical marvel and less like a complete mystery.

In the following series of posts, I’ll explore, in very basic terms, the rudimentary functions of an average car. These entries are designed for those with little or no mechanical expertise and knowledge of cars. I’ll follow up each explanatory post with one about basic maintenance and common problems associated with that car part. As it stands now, this series will cover the following areas:

Engine – Part 1 and Part 2

Transmission—manual and automatic

Drive train—brakes,( Part 1 – Braking Basics;  Part 2 –  Disc and Drum; Part 3 – Power and Antilock),  differentials, tires, steering (Part 1 and Part 2)

Accessories—heating and AC, fuel gauge and odometer, cruise control

If there’s a topic you’d particularly like to see featured that isn’t on this list, post a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

|

Customer Reviews

Defensivedriving.com has a ShopperApproved rating of 4.7 based on 83865 ratings and reviews.

Tiffany TX, United States
Easy registration.
Harish TX, United States
Simple, easy and fast
Ericka TX, United States
Great
Akeem TX, United States
It's great!
Julie
Easy to register and a great price!
David
Easy to follow
SHAMMARA
Very easy to get everything required for ticket dismissals.
Vicky
I have done the test online before and it was quick and easy.
Isaias
Great so far
Baleigh
It is great!
Joshua
Simple, straightforward, and not difficult to understand.
James United States
Easy to register. Like two different options of course format
Toni United States
Easy to navigate/understand and quick response time
Michael TX, United States
Super easy to sign up and very informative.
Brenda United States
quick easy to navigate
HALEY United States
Fast and easy!
Marvin United States
Amazing
Darian
Very easy to navigate
Troy
Smooth
Robyn
Easy
Hector
Excellent
Anthony
Easy
Jeffrey
Getting signed up was fast and easy
Stacey United States
It was an easy course to follow
Sandra TX, United States
It was very easy to use
Aaron TX, United States
It was quick and simple to complete.
Juan TX, United States
Quick and easy way to get a defensive driving certificate.
John
So far easy and simple !
Feris
really easy and user friendly
Garrett
Good course
Denise
Great!
Jose
Thanks for the help!
Eduardo
Fast, simple and convenient
Melissa
great and easy.
See all reviews on shopperApproved.com
Why DefensiveDriving.com
  • 20 Years in Business
  • Over 2 Million Customers Served
  • Highest Possible Better Business Bureau Rating
  • Award Winning Course